Second date of the Abarth Rally Cup: Latvia will host the Rally Liepaja, valid for the FIA European Rally Championship
The fast off-road terrain of Latvia will set the stage for the second date of the Abarth Rally Cup, the single-brand championship that stars the Abarth 124 rally, in the context of the prestigious European Rally Championship. The Rally Liepāja, to be staged from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 May, will be played out on a route characterised by extremely fast special tests on an off-road but compact terrain, with fast, wide curves that will show off the performance skills of the 124 rally.
In 2018, in none other than the Rally Liepāja, the victory of Italian driver Simone Tempestini led the Abarth 124 rally to win the European title of the Abarth 124 rally International Rally Challenge.
Three crews from three different countries and three different teams will step up to the starting line of the 2019 edition. Making his debut behind the wheel of the Abarth 124 rally will be the young Latvian driver Reinis Nitišs, paired with fellow Latvian Māris Kulšs, in the vehicle of the French team Milano Racing. Before the race, Nitišs, who has a wealth of experience in rallycross, a speciality in which he has racked up many victories, such as that of the European Championship in 2013, stated: “In rallycross we’re not used to rear-wheel drive vehicles like the Abarth 124 rally. In fact, my only experience with this kind of traction is linked to the karts and buggies I have raced in on rallycross tracks. It’s an exciting challenge and I’m ready. The 124 rally is a new thrill that I can’t wait to experience”.
At his second date of the season, Pole Dariusz Polonski, with co-driver Lukasz Sitek, will race with the vehicle of the team Rallytechnology. In his first race with the 124 rally, the Rally Islas Canarias, Polonski gained third place in the Abarth Rally Cup. But here in Latvia he too will be making a debut, as he will be racing on off-road terrain for the very first time: “In the first race I had the opportunity to get to know and appreciate the performances of the 124 rally on the road; now I’m going to try and get the most out of this exceptional vehicle off-road too, by seeking a result that will help me win the Abarth Rally Cup”.
The third crew lining up is that of the Bernini Rally team, comprised of Italian driver Andrea Nucita and Romanian Alina Pop. Nucita has a long experience with the Abarth 124 rally, with which he has shown that he is fast, by exploiting its excellent performances, and he has already obtained various results of grand prestige. Before the race he commented: “I’m buzzing at the idea of racing off-road, where we can show that our rear-wheel drive can be both spectacular and effective at the same time”.
The Rally Liepaja starts from its namesake, the port city on the Baltic Sea, on Friday 24 May at 8:30 p.m. The qualifying test will be held that same afternoon, at 5 pm. The first stage will take place on Saturday 25 May, with departure at 11.20 am and arrival at 8.30 pm and will include 5 special tests for a total speed of 100 km. Sunday will be the last day, hosting another 8 special tests (106 km of speed) with departure at 7.45 am and the finishing line at 7.05 pm. In total, competitors will face 859 km, 206 of them at a timed speed split.
Ranking of the Abarth Rally Cup before the Rally Liepaja:1. Monarri-Chamorro (SPA) 25 points; 2. Garcia Perez-Diaz Negrin (SPA) 18; 3. Polonski-Sitek (POL) 15; 4. Nucita-Ferrara (ITA) 12.